Flowers (Цветы), Vladimir Soloukhin


A poem from 1957.

On lonely steppe two blooming stems
Discovered I for you.
But, oh, sharp prickles of those gems
At my poor hands did chew.

Those blooms were simple, even mean,
Of steppe the only fruits.
For all they had were waters green
To nourish gasping roots.

Their life was but a hard assault
By desert places hewn,
It wasn’t dew that shone but salt
Beneath the shimmering moon.

And yet, when scorching iron heat
From earth the grass erased,
They still the salty dust did cheat,
Their little flowers blazed.

But if it’s roses that you love,
Do not condemn my jest!
My spiky blooms are not to shove
With pin upon your breast.


Я был в степи и два цветка
Там для тебя нашел.
Листва колючая жестка –
Все руки исколол.

Цветы невзрачны, не беда,
В степи ведь нет других.
Скупая горькая вода
Питала корни их.

Вся жизнь для них была как боль
В пустынной стороне,
И не роса на них, а соль
Мерцала при луне.

Зато, когда железный зной
Стирал траву с земли,
Они в пыли, в соли земной
По-прежнему цвели.

А если розы любишь ты,
Ну что ж, не обессудь!
Мои колючие цветы –
Не приколоть на грудь.

Translation by Rupert Moreton

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